How to Cook Pastina Pasta in the Microwave

//cookanyday.com/cdn/shop/files/ANYDAY_Q2_2024_pastina_basic_1080_265232ad-1b5f-4a46-b1aa-0fd366602782_360x.jpg?v=1718751163 How to Cook Pastina Pasta in the Microwave
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Prep Time

1 min

Cook Time

10-11 mins

Free Time

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Using a microwave offers distinct advantages for achieving perfectly al dente pasta. Not only is the microwave faster than stovetop boiling but it’s also more convenient, saving valuable time in the kitchen.

The microwave method is especially effective for small-sized pasta varieties like ditalini, pastina, small shells, small elbows, alphabet letters, and even orecchiette.

With an Anyday dish, you can consistently achieve al dente pasta without needing to watch a pot or set a timer constantly. Although our lid serves various purposes (especially steam trapping)admirably, we recommend leaving it off it when cooking pasta in the microwave, otherwise, starchy water will boil over. If you experience spills, try reducing the water quantity or lowering your microwave's power level until this method works for you.

All of Anyday’s recipes are tested (and retested!) in many different microwaves and home kitchens to make sure they work — and work well. Unless specified otherwise, all recipes should be cooked at full power.

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What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

The Medium Deep Dish

The best dish for 1-2 portions of grains, veggies, mac and cheese, ramen, and more.

The Anyhand Mitts

Handle hot Anyday dishes with care with these microwave mitts that double as trivets!
Try Anyday

Select your serving size and microwave wattage in the dropdown. The recipe will change accordingly.

1/2 cup pastina

Select your microwave wattage in the dropdown. The cook times in this recipe will automatically change accordingly.

[[video-wattage]]

To find your microwave’s wattage, look at the front panel, the side of the door, in the back, in the user manual, or Google the model number. If both an input and output wattage are listed, use the output.

Wattage translates to how powerful the microwave is. The higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. The lower the wattage, the longer the cook time.

When in doubt, start with less time — you can always add more.

Microwave oven by power - 700w
700w

Recommended 

Dish

The Medium Deep Dish

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (2oz) pastina (orzo. small shells or ditalini)
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Preparation

  1. Place the small pasta of choice and water in the Anyday dish and stir to combine.
  2. Cook in the microwave uncovered for 10-11 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Try a noodle and add more time if needed!
  3. Drain any excess water, if necessary.

Serving suggestions & tips

  • Spinach Alfredo: Blend frozen spinach into Alfredo sauce, add to the cooked pasta, and heat it for 1-2 minutes.
  • Spicy Caprese: Add cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, hot sauce, and arugula for a delicious warm salad.
  • Bone-broth Cacio e Pepe: Cook the pasta in bone broth instead of water and season with Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus lots of black pepper.
  • For more microwave Pasta & Noodle recipes, see our full collection here.

Recipe notes

  • Most pasta indicates the cook time on the package. If in doubt, use those instructions as a cook time guide.
  • Is your water spilling over? Make sure to always use a Deep dish when making pasta. Depending on the amount, size up from Medium to Large or Extra Large.
  • Want to experiment with a different pasta shape? Make sure that water is completely covering the before microwaving.
  • Microwave ovens vary, even with the same wattages. Adjust cooking times as needed.

Microwave Match Up: Pastina

See for yourself— microwaving pastina is simply faster, start to finish.

Appliance Cook Time
Microwave in an Anyday dish* 8-10 mins
Stovetop* 15-20 mins
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)* 20 mins
*Includes boiling time

All You Need to Know About Cooking Pastina or Orzo in the Microwave

How long does it take to cook pastina or orzo pasta in the microwave?

Ingredient Water Cook Time
½ cup pastina or orzo 1 cup (240ml) water 10-11 mins
1 cup pastina or orzo 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water 10-11 mins
1 1/2 cups pastina or orzo 1 3/4 cups (414ml) water 11-12 mins
2 cups pastina or orzo 2 1/2 cups (590ml) water 12-13 mins
3 cups pastina or orzo 3 1/2 cups (830ml) water 16-17 mins
Cook time calculated for 700w microwave

Microwave cook times for pastina, orzo, or ditalini pastas may vary, but a general guideline is 8-10 minutes per 1 cup. Check the recommended cooking time in the package as a starting point. Larger amounts, especially anything more than 2 cups will need a bit more time due to the larger volume of water required to heat while the pasta cooks. For the best results, start with the lower time range and add more time as needed.

Can I cook pastina or orzo in the microwave?

Yes, you can absolutely cook any of these pastas in the microwave! One of the great benefits of using the microwave for cooking pasta is that you don't need to wait for the water to boil. It's as simple as adding the pasta, water, and a pinch of salt into your Anyday dish. Just make sure cook uncovered. This method not only saves time but also keeps your kitchen cooler and uses less energy compared to boiling pasta on the stove. Enjoy your perfectly cooked pasta with minimal effort and cleanup!

How do I know when small pasta is properly cooked in the microwave?

Pastina, orzo, or ditalini are properly cooked when it looks plump, most water has evaporated and is al dente (retains a slight bite). If you're unsure, taste a small bite for doneness. Pasta texture is a personal preference —, if you like your pasta more cooked, add 1/4 cup extra water and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Remember, microwaves vary, so adjust cooking times accordingly.

Can I cook different varieties of small dry pasta in the microwave?

Yes, most varieties of pasta can be cooked in the microwave including pastina, orzo, ditalini, alphabet and more. While cooking times might slightly vary, the microwave process remains largely the same.

What's the best way to dress up pastina cooked in the microwave

Pastina can be enjoyed with something as simple as Parmesan cheese and a bit of salt. If you're looking for something a bit more exciting, try our Brown Butter recipe, our Easy Tomato Sauce, or this delicious Zucchini Butter for a summery meal.

How do I store leftover microwaved pasta?

Store leftover microwaved pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in the Anyday dish, with the lid and the knob pressed down. Make sure to pack away cooked pasta only once it has cooled down fully to avoid food borne illnesses. Cooked pasta typically stays fresh for 3-4 days. To reheat, sprinkle the surface with some water droplets, and microwave it in the Anyday dish for a few minutes, checking periodically for the desired temperature.